It is vital for more young haredi men to join the IDF. The reason has nothing to do with the importance of learning Torah as compared to the importance of serving in the IDF and nothing to do with the protesters' accusation that they are not "sharing the burden" in defending the country. It has to do with the sterling qualities and unswerving loyalty to the Jewish people of haredi young men.
There should be no question that Torah study is one of the most basic values in Judaism and certainly should be protected and encouraged in a Jewish state for whoever wishes learn Torah full time, there is no question that our winning in battle is based as much on Torah learning as it is on tanks and bullets, but there must be a good number of sincerely G-d-fearing haredi young men who do not have what it takes to learn Torah full time for more than a few years after high school.
The need to encourage this group to enlist has become urgent due to the despicable actions of those members of the IDF who are now evincing the skewed values and mores of people who are prepared to ditch their responsibilities, not caring about Israel’s security as they refuse to serve in the reserves or show up for flight exercises for political reasons .
Call it protests, call it whatever, but in other countries it would be called an attempted coup détat and heads would roll.
Whether it be the pilots, those in Unit 8200 or any other brigade, it has now become obvious that the ruling clique of yesterday did not see to a balance of all sectors of Israel’s population in the IDF. The"jobs for our boys" mentality is now meeting the lack of haredi young men in the IDF. These young men would not be in the IDF for life: they could continue their studies and an army service track including learning during training could be created for them. Most importantly, they would be a positive influence on others during their time served. There would not be an opportunity as there is now to put the lives of all Israelis at risk when the vocal insubordinates together with the leftist media threaten the whole country.
This is why it is imperative for more haredi young men to play their part in the security of Israel, just as the Dati Leumi sector has. Once numbers of haredi young men backed by their Rabbis begin the recruitment process, the IDF itself will eventually include groups of these young men in all units, which is not the case today. Over the years the IDF will become a more Jewish army, with Jewish values rather than a voice for an alternative lifestyle.
In 1948 Ben Gurion allowed several hundred men an exemption from military service to continue to learn after the losses of the great yeshivas and their students in the Holocaust. Thank G-d, today's Bnei Torah have done a magnificent job of replenishing and growing that sector. Today they are numerous enough to encourage those who are not capable of concentrating on Torah learning full time to sanctify G-d's Name in IDF service.
Leonie Ben-Simon is a freelance journalist with an MBA from Monash University, Victoria Australia.